#9 The Curse of Shortness

When you are a child dancer working in a world of adults – you tend to think of yourself as an adult.  This applies to a lot of children.  My niece was five years old when we were loading up the car.  Someone yelled “All kids in the back” and she calmly went to the front seat.  It wasn’t an act of defiance; she simply didn’t consider herself a child.  I can relate to that.  Once I joined the ballet company, I considered myself an adult and I felt that I should be treated as one.  You know – with the respect due to someone in my profession.  This is where height really works against you.  The tall dancers were considered the apex of elegance and grace.  They are cast into the romantic duets, the agonizing death scenes, the heroine roles.  Short dancers are the zippy little sidekicks.  My best friend (and rival) Sheila was tall and no matter what piece we were performing, she always had the better role.  She was the fairy queen and I was the comic relief.  She was the tragic heroine and I was the dippy sister.  I couldn’t even get a break in Nutcracker.  She was the Snow Queen or the Arabian princess and I would be standing on stage as the Sheppardess dressed in a costume that resembled a French bon-bon.  I think what irritated me the most was the audience reaction.  After a performance, people would approach Sheila with an awed reverence and excuse themselves for disturbing her.  “You were so beautiful that I just cried.” Or “Absolutely breath-taking, my dear.”  Grandmothers would tackle me with bear hugs and tell me how adorable I was while pinching my cheeks.  Now I ask you – Is this any way to treat a serious artist?

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3 Responses to #9 The Curse of Shortness

  1. Alainka (the niece) says:

    I always get confused with the kids at horse shows and the barn. Well, until the kids all grow taller than me! I think when you grow up thinking your an adult already it tricks your body into thinking it’s full grown.

  2. I thought I recognized you in the bon bon outfit!

  3. Marilyn says:

    You speak for all of the short people, even the non-dancers.

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